Review: The BrydgeAir Keyboard Turns Your iPad Air 2 Into a Mini MacBook

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After we published our review of the ClamCase Pro keyboard for the iPad Air 2, some of our readers suggested that we take a look at other iPad keyboards available on the market. We decided to take MacRumors readers up on that suggestion, and over the next few weeks, we'll be looking at several keyboards designed for Apple's newest tablet, the iPad Air 2.

We're kicking things off with a review of the BrydgeAir keyboard, which is able to work with both the original iPad Air and the iPad Air 2. Much like the ClamCase Pro we previously looked at, the all-aluminum BrydgeAir is designed to turn the iPad into a miniature MacBook.


At $169, the BrydgeAir is one of the more expensive iPad keyboards on the market, but that price point comes with some perks not found in many cheaper options -- quality aluminum construction, a fluid 180 degree hinge, built-in dual stereo speakers, and backlit keys.


Click here to read more...

Article Link: Review: The BrydgeAir Keyboard Turns Your iPad Air 2 Into a Mini MacBook
 

DougTheImpaler

macrumors 6502a
Feb 28, 2006
558
49
Central Illinois
The status bar on my iPad shows the battery level of my attached Bluetooth headset. Does that not happen for this keyboard case? Theres should always be a way to tell the battery level if so.
 

musika

macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2010
1,284
448
New York
iPads are great, but if you want a real keyboard all the time, so much so that you'd do buy this thing, just get a damn MacBook.
 

Macula

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2006
425
11
All over the place
As long as there's no provision for exposé keys enabling fast switching between screens (equivalent to a three-finger swipe), I am very reluctant to invest in any keyboard.
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
4,856
387
London, UK
While this might seem daft to most people, I would have absolutely loved to have had it at Uni for note taking in lectures. I can type a hell of a lot faster than I can write but jotting down equations or diagrams on a laptop is slow and painful. This would be a perfect solution for all.
 

WilliamLondon

macrumors 68000
Dec 8, 2006
1,699
13
While this might seem daft to most people, I would have absolutely loved to have had it at Uni for note taking in lectures. I can type a hell of a lot faster than I can write but jotting down equations or diagrams on a laptop is slow and painful. This would be a perfect solution for all.
That's what I do exactly, not with this one (I got the Zagg folio for my Air) - I type much faster so take notes in a mind map application which allows me to draw and moves things around easily with my finger on screen, and then auto exports the notes to outline/text form. This one looks quite nice, more in line with the Apple styling.

There's definitely value to adding a keyboard to the iPad (mine jumped in usefulness with the keyboard), perhaps a MacBook hybrid in the future where the screen is a full sized (or Pro?) iPad but you have the keyboard available when attached??
 

jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
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California
Good review. The ClamCase still seems like the better keyboard IMO.
I think it depends on what you're looking for. If you want full iPad protection, ClamCase Pro is better because it covers the back. If you want a case that's easier to remove, this one is superior. This one is also entirely aluminum, whereas ClamCase Pro is an aluminum keyboard with a plastic shell.

360 degree hinge on the ClamCase Pro is undeniably handy, but so are the backlit keys on the BrydgeAir.
 

jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,520
2,930
California
By the way, if you guys have other keyboards you think we should take a look at for a review, let me know.
 

jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,520
2,930
California
Added this as an update to the review, but I'll also mention it here: BrydgeAir's going to be shipping keyboards with iPad Air 2 shims as the default in mid-April (iPad Air shims will be included as an optional accessory).
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,617
14,189
Central U.S.
I think it depends on what you're looking for. If you want full iPad protection, ClamCase Pro is better because it covers the back. If you want a case that's easier to remove, this one is superior. This one is also entirely aluminum, whereas ClamCase Pro is an aluminum keyboard with a plastic shell.

360 degree hinge on the ClamCase Pro is undeniably handy, but so are the backlit keys on the BrydgeAir.
But it's entirely aluminum in the sense that it just lacks the back casing, but still has some of the thickness with the hinge. Backlit keys is questionable given how close the keyboard is to the quite bright iPad display, so only a slight positive in my opinion. I was thinking about asking if the speakers sounded better when flipped around like the clamcase (tent orientation?) but I guess I missed that this can't do that, which is unfortunate.

I've got an interesting idea for a design that I would put on Kickstarter if I actually knew how to get something like that started with the manufacturing, tooling, etc. But I don't.
 
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manu chao

macrumors 603
Jul 30, 2003
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That's what I do exactly, not with this one (I got the Zagg folio for my Air) - I type much faster so take notes in a mind map application which allows me to draw and moves things around easily with my finger on screen, and then auto exports the notes to outline/text form.
World you mind sharing which app you use for that?
 

furi0usbee

macrumors 68000
Jul 11, 2008
1,781
1,248
When full Mac OS can run on an iPad, would be nice. But at that point, Apple would have their own solution.
 

chrisconrad

macrumors newbie
Nov 2, 2012
2
1
BrydgeAir Keyboard Cons

I have the BrydgeAir Keyboard and use it with my iPad Air 2. For the most part, I love it. Two things that I don't like:
1) the magnet in the keyboard doesn't sleep/wake the iPad Air 2, only the 1. They say that will be fixed in the next version...
2) the keyboard goes to sleep WAY too early.. I haven't time it, but it seems like 3 or 4 minutes. To wake it up, you press any key, but you have to wait about 3 seconds before it comes back to life. I like to read things on my iPad and I scroll with my finger so often times the keyboard goes to sleep, then I go to type something, and the first few letters are missed because the keyboard is still waking up. It drives me ABSOLUTELY CRAZY. The company has told me the next version will also address this issue by perhaps allowing the user to change the time-out value, but the current version will never have that ability.

Because of issue #2, I highly recommend that iPad Air 2 users WAIT for the next version of the BrydgeAir!!

-chris
 
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rhinosrcool

macrumors 68000
Sep 5, 2009
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It's 2015 and you still can't use a mouse with the iPad (yes, I know you can jb but it's half-assed, at best). Also, with the ipad, you still can't use a pen.

Samsung not only makes great tablets that can use a mouse and keyboard, but they make the fantastic s-pen, too.
 

kd5jos

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2007
419
138
Denver, CO
Ignorance is... ignorance.

iPads are great, but if you want a real keyboard all the time, so much so that you'd do buy this thing, just get a damn MacBook.
I have an iPad mini retina. I have the clamcase for it. Double it's weight and it still weighs less than a "damn macbook." It's smaller, and I can keyboard at full speed. Impressive when you consider I'm 6' tall and have big hands. I can hold it in one hand folded back. I can hold it in both hands and thumb type. I can sit down, put it on my lap and go. I WISH it had backlit keys. However, that is the only shortcoming I see (I'm guessing the next model will be backlit).

Lighter, faster, does the job, has LTE (which a damn macbook doesn't). Yeah, I can think of lots of ways what I have is better.
 

WilliamLondon

macrumors 68000
Dec 8, 2006
1,699
13
World you mind sharing which app you use for that?
Not at all, I looked at quite a few of them: iThoughtsX, MindNode Pro, SimpleMind, MindMaple, FreeMind, Mindjet, XMind, plus one or two others I can't remember.

Most do the job (some better than others), but I especially liked the integration between the iOS and OS X versions of iThoughtsX (iThoughtsHD on iOS), plus the iOS version is incredibly full featured, they did a superior job with that app.

But the best part is that you can set up the app automatically to export mind maps to a markdown (text) file in outline form, which for me is the bee's knees. I love mind mapping (for note taking) and outputting the results to text (in markdown) I can use it in Scrivener and Evernote and the notes are all searchable, it's really been a great boost to my productivity.

Hope that helps.
 

musika

macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2010
1,284
448
New York
I have an iPad mini retina. I have the clamcase for it. Double it's weight and it still weighs less than a "damn macbook." It's smaller, and I can keyboard at full speed. Impressive when you consider I'm 6' tall and have big hands. I can hold it in one hand folded back. I can hold it in both hands and thumb type. I can sit down, put it on my lap and go. I WISH it had backlit keys. However, that is the only shortcoming I see (I'm guessing the next model will be backlit).

Lighter, faster, does the job, has LTE (which a damn macbook doesn't). Yeah, I can think of lots of ways what I have is better.
Good points, thanks for sharing! :)
 

manu chao

macrumors 603
Jul 30, 2003
6,449
2,419
Not at all, I looked at quite a few of them: iThoughtsX, MindNode Pro, SimpleMind, MindMaple, FreeMind, Mindjet, XMind, plus one or two others I can't remember.

Most do the job (some better than others), but I especially liked the integration between the iOS and OS X versions of iThoughtsX (iThoughtsHD on iOS), plus the iOS version is incredibly full featured, they did a superior job with that app.
Thanks, I've been using Omnigraffle on the Mac for mind-mapping, it's a general drawing application that makes it easy to create simple shapes and size and align them while looking quite nice out of the box. But I found using it on the iPad for this purpose too cumbersome.

My preferred system for taking text-heavy notes has been Simplenote, mainly for its syncing service and the simplicity of its app. While I input into its iPhone and iPad apps, I find the Mac front end to it named Notational Velocity the best part of it, used as a general repository of any kind of information.

I just wished I could have multiple repositories (which is against its general idea of having a very simple structure, a flat hierarchy with just a long list of notes that have only a header and the bulk text) so that I could separate at the very least private stuff from work stuff. You can have a second repository via a fork of it called NValt but that then cannot sync with Simplenote in parallel with NV itself.
 

kd5jos

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2007
419
138
Denver, CO
Not saying you should change...

I just wished I could have multiple repositories (which is against its general idea of having a very simple structure, a flat hierarchy with just a long list of notes that have only a header and the bulk text) so that I could separate at the very least private stuff from work stuff. You can have a second repository via a fork of it called NValt but that then cannot sync with Simplenote in parallel with NV itself.
What you just described is Evernote.
 

mochatins

macrumors newbie
Aug 18, 2012
29
20
A cheaper option I've been happy with

is the Logitech Type+ case. Had mine for my Air 2 since early December. Well-made, solid, good keyboard action. Months between charges. Versatile positioning, good protection. Great for shooting time-lapse vids! I travel at ease knowing it's fully protected on all sides, even though it hides the Air 2's thinness. Extremely happy with it! CA$100+tax shipped in Canada.
 
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EightBitJoe

macrumors member
Aug 11, 2014
83
45
It's no MacBook

I've used a great many keyboards with several iPads over the years. Believe me, the headline should be:

"The BrydgeAir Keyboard Turns Your iPad Air 2 Into an iPad Air 2 with a Keyboard"

iOS still doesn't provide the experience required to claim using an iPad can replace using a real MacBook.
 
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